Thursday, January 13, 2005

Never mind where the .ORG money goes, where's the .net money going to go?

James Seng wrote: Where did the .ORG money goes? but there's something much more topical for now... James, you definitely spurred this on, thanks. I sent this to the ISOC chapter-delegates list (made up of current ISOC chapter committee members) last month:

This is a proposal for your consideration. It concerns the future of the .net tld. Please allow me to explain.

The ICANN meeting held in Cape Town last week has turned out to be extremely interesting, not only because of some success with the South African Ministers welcome, ("There has been a perception that South Africa is anti – ICANN. Nothing is further from the truth than this." http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/internet/2004/ICANN_speech.htm), but also because of the topic that turned out to be on most peoples mind. Initially I thought it would be WSIS, where the ITU challenge on ICANN appears significant. A WSIS workshop was also held (see local news article ICANN rules out ITU merger).

But what was really concerning most delegates was the .net bid and Verisign. As I am sure you know, the .org bid was won by the ISOC which established the PIR (of which I was a founding board member and treasurer) together with Afilias (as the technical provider and also the operator of the .info registry). Regarding the outputs of the PIR, my understanding is that there are significant funding demands for the IETF and it's restructuring has created certain demands. Although the benefactors are largely private companies, this is an important resource that must be maintained in the public interest.

As such, and considering that Verisign are very aggressively bidding for .net, there is an opportunity to once again partner with Afilias, as a ISOC global and chapter partnership. I am confident that the ICANN board recognize the diversity between the standards element of ISOC and the global representation in the chapters. There is already a suggestion in the rfp referring to funds contributing to three areas "(a) a special restricted fund for developing country Internet communities to enable further participation in the ICANN mission by developing country stakeholders, (b) a special restricted fund to enhance and facilitate the security and stability of the global Internet’s system of unique identifiers, and (c) general operating funds to support ICANN's mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers."

Under the shadow of the WSIS umbrella, I consider this as a good opportunity to make claim to a stake in the .net gtld. ICANN website states "ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes." I am confident that ISOC/Afilias and their DNS hosting providers represents an excellent option for ICANN that considers a balance between the community and the security required to take over the globally critical .net infrastructure. The ability for us representing the global community and Afilias (with suppliers) as having the ability to deal with the scale and security issues, makes a good case for .net. The others may be able to offer either of these two main criteria, but very difficult to offer both in a significant way.

You may want to see the RFP or visit the net-rfp-comments: Chronological Index (extended period).

I propose that you consider supporting the establishment of a new .net global registry with the involvement of a consortium of ISOC chapters represented by ISOC global. I believe that with the support of a number of chapters, the ISOC president will have the mandate to pursue this opportunity further, or alternatively I have been offered some funding for us to consider doing it independently of ISOC global if so required.

Since there is a short period left to finalise a bid (due Jan 18) I suggest that if we're going to get serious, we consider this urgently.

Kind regards,

Alan

ISOC-ZA
Chair



the response was very positive from a number of the chapter representatives until it was snuffed out very quickly by the ISOC global response:

We need to be very careful here.

The question of whether or not to submit a bid for .NET was considered by ISOC and PIR. They took a decision not to submit a bid. The reasoning, in part, went as follows.

The partnership of ORG and ISOC made sense almost immediately. It was straightforward to understand and propose a mission for PIR when ISOC partnered with Afilias to bid on ORG.

However, if ISOC or PIR were to bid on another top-level domain, that mission would be questioned. In particular, we would begin to look more like a registry service provider, e.g., Verisign, than the organizations that they we are and want to be.

Also, I believe it is fair to say that ICANN recognized the value of the partnership as an important consideration when awarding ORG. We would likely lose that credibility if we bid on any other top-level domain.

The risk here is that we would likely increase the probability of losing the ORG registry when the contract is up for renewal.

So, while your suggestion has a lot of merit, I believe it is in all our best interest not to pursue it.



My main concern is that very few people are aware of what *really* goes on in ISOC, yet it is an open and public group. All BOT meetings are open to members and 'minutes' are published on the web. Although only 2 or 3 chapters out of tens are concerned about making the chapter delegates list public, ISOC employees appear to be against it.

My best suggestion is if you're not yet an ISOC member, join up as you have nothing to lose and if you are an ISOC member - please engage - our whole Internet society (with a small s) has much to gain from having a strong well run ISOC.

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